Different Types of Cholesterol & How To Lower Yours
Did you read the blog on good fats and want to know more about good cholesterol so you can eat better? Or did you just get some annual bloodwork back and you’re wondering whether you’ve got a good result or bad?
Well, let’s find out, shall we?
First and foremost, most people don’t know exactly WHAT cholesterol is. It’s actually a waxy substance the body makes on its own that is found in all cells of the body.
It is created in the liver and small intestines, mostly and is used to produce bile salts to aid in absorption of fat and digestion, aids in steroid hormone production in ovaries, adrenal glands and testes, helps make vitamin D, and maintains the integrity of cell membranes.
Cholesterol isn’t actually even a problem until it is oxidized. The most common method that we introduce it into our bodies is through foods cooked in vegetable oils. When the oil is heated it mixes with oxygen and becomes oxidized. This changes its form.
In turn, it becomes more reactive with tissues and damages artery walls and linings paving the way for fat and mineral deposits to start freeloading on your artery walls. Think of it like potholes. Oxidized cholesterol causes potholes in your arteries. Those little ditches collect deposits that get ‘caught’ in them during transit. This can lead to blockages in blood flow. So which types of cholesterol are these dent-driving devils?
Like with fats, there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Bad Cholesterol: LDL
Bad cholesterol is placed in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) when it travels in the body. LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol because it drops the oxidized cholesterol we talked about above, onto the artery walls. As such, it can damage arteries, contributes to plaque and can leave deposits in your arteries that can lead to clogs.
Good Cholesterol: HDL
“Good” cholesterol is tucked inside high-density lipoproteins (HDL). HDL’s high density name can help you understand why it DOESN’T drop cholesterol like LDL. It firmly grasps its cholesterol and does not ‘drop it’ onto walls. In fact, sometimes it can grab bad cholesterol left by lazy LDL which can reduce build up. Thanks good, cholesterol!
How Does Cholesterol Travel?
Cholesterol attaches itself to fatty proteins in order to travel throughout the body. So when we talk about good and bad cholesterol, we’re actually referring to the types of PROTEINS that carry the cholesterol through your body.
When we consume fats, excess fat is converted into fatty acids and stored as triglycerides. It is carried through your blood in packages called lipoproteins which is a nifty little package combining fat (lipid) and proteins.
“Good” cholesterol is tucked inside high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and bad cholesterol is placed in low-density lipoproteins (LDL.)
Triglycerides are transported inside very-low-density lipoproteins, or VLDL. VLDL are important couriers, as they deliver these triglycerides to muscles to convert into energy through ATP. But excess triglycerides are stored as, you guessed it, fat. In your liver or fat cells, they wait to be called to the energy war.
How Can I Improve My Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol can be lowered naturally if you are not suffering from some underlying medical issues. Always check with your doctor first.
Exercise and diet are definitely key to achieving healthy levels and protecting your heart. Choosing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, lots of veggies, whole grains, restricting red meats, fried foods, dairy products, processed and bakery items is where you want to start. You’re getting healthier and it doesn’t mean you can’t have some of your favorite foods, just have them in moderation.
Exercise daily. Get in 30-60 minutes of exercise every day that you can. Specifically cardio if you want to improve your cardiovascular health.
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Finally, consider taking supplements with aminos and nutrients designed to boost heart protecting bodily processes and results.
If you’ve started here, you’re one step closer to your goal of getting healthier. Now keep going.